One of the three "noble" varieties used in the blends of Champagne, Pinot Meunier is considered to be vital in adding fruitiness and freshness to the power of Pinot Noir and the grace of Chardonnay. The fact that this grape buds very late and ripens early and consistently is probably just as important in this northern region as any particular flavor profiles. Though Meunier is rarely sold as a single varietal it still covers over 1/3 the vineyards in Champagne. Slightly higher in acidity that Pinot Noir, the grape from which it most likely mutated. Similar flavors and aromas to Pinot Noir are common, though with less earthiness and more of a high-toned citrusy character.
In addition to the vast Champagne vineyards Meunier can also be found in many still reds of the Loire valley, most notably those of Moselle, Touraine and Cotes de Toul. In the Wurttenberg area of southwestern Germany it is known as Mullerrebe and Schwarzriesling. Pinot Meunier may also be found in the traditional method sparklers from Australia and Carneros. Meunier takes its name from the bottom of its leaves which are white as if coated with flour (meunier is French for 'Miller').
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